Activism, Top Stories

The Rise and Decline of Black Lives Matter: A Toronto Case Study

In July 2016, the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter brought the city’s world-famous Pride parade to a halt. BLM supporters staged a sit-in to protest Pride Toronto’s alleged ‘anti-blackness.’ The parade restarted only after the organizer hastily signed a document containing a long list of demands, including the removal of official police floats from future parades. BLM had taken on one of the most prominent civic events on Toronto’s annual calendar, and won.

Two years later, it’s a different story. During the 2018 Pride festivities, BLM did not take part in the main parade, opting instead for the less popular, more overtly political Dyke March and Trans March.

The move symbolizes a larger trend. Scan BLM’s media mentions across North America, and a pattern emerges: a spike in mentions during the group’s early protests in 2015 and 2016, followed by a steep decline in 2017, which has continued into 2018. This is a group that, not so long ago, could force politicians to walk back declarations that “all lives matter” (a slogan that was seen as a bad-faith effort to dilute BLM’s main message). How did BLM fall off the radar so quickly?

As a Toronto-based journalist, I have been asking questions about BLM for a while now, and have earned my share of abuse as a result. Since the group’s inception on July 13, 2013—five years ago today—progressive journalists generally have been hesitant to criticize BLM’s standoffish tactics and radicalized leadership.

The group’s legacy has been divisive; thanks to BLM demands, uniformed Toronto police are not permitted to march in Toronto’s Pride parade, a policy of exclusion that has caused some politicians to stay away from Pride in solidarity with police. As BLM tries to prevent itself from sliding into obscurity, it’s worth analyzing how the group rose, and how it fell, if only to better understand the real needs of disadvantaged urban communities.

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BLM originally took form in reaction to the killing of black men, including the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman. In 2014, attention shifted to Ferguson, Mo., after a white police officer killed a black teenager named Michael Brown. The resulting unrest lasted nearly two weeks, with BLM issuing demands for civilian police oversight, as well as the “demilitarization” of police forces across the country. Despite controversy over the circumstances of Brown’s killing (the officer in question was not prosecuted), the protests drew attention to systemic problems that afflict police forces in many parts of the United States—including poor training, aggressive procedures, and an apparent focus by officers on the activities of black men.

BLM chapters began to form in cities across North America. While these groups tapped into the same hashtags and broad sense of outrage, each was free to fashion itself according to local community needs. In Toronto, where I live, the local chapter was founded by Janaya Khan and Yusra Ali (also known as Yusra Khogali), following the 2014 killing of a 33 year-old black man named Jermaine Carby at a traffic stop. In 2015, BLM-Toronto asserted itself prominently in the protests that followed the killing of Andrew Loku, a mentally ill father of five.

Carby and Loku were both said to be holding weapons when they were shot. Carby allegedly had a knife while sitting in the passenger seat when the car he was traveling in was pulled over, while Loku is said to have had a hammer and was threatening the police inside his apartment building in the aftermath of a 911 call. The conflicting accounts of these incidents polarized Toronto residents, who were split between their support for law and order, and sympathy for a black community that, as in the United States, is disproportionately involved in violent confrontations with police officers.

But Toronto is no Ferguson. Its police services have made strong efforts to create a diverse constabulary that represents the population they serve (though work still remains to be done), and are well-trained in de-escalation techniques. In April, Toronto police constable Ken Lam won worldwide acclaim when he was captured on camera, refusing to shoot a man who had plowed a van into pedestrians on a busy street, even after the killer emerged from his vehicle claiming to have a gun. Diversity training is a big part of officers’ ongoing professional development in Toronto. In fact, some police officers I’ve spoken with say that it sometimes interferes with their core mission to protect residents.

“We are sometimes so afraid of being perceived as racists that we often lean towards letting black motorists off [with] warnings,” a white officer told me recently. “Officers are very much conscious of the appetite of this city’s media for a ‘dirty cop’ story. This can, and does, manifest in lower level offenders being released unconditionally instead of being charged. Staying off YouTube and avoiding human rights complaints is as high a priority now as maintaining our physical safety.”

The officer makes a confession: “I personally have made decisions not to charge an individual for a traffic infraction because the driver was black.”

Such accounts are anecdotal, and I have no way of confirming them. But the general complaint one hears from rank-and-file officers I’ve spoken to is that the genuinely unprofessional behavior of those few police who have been suspended for misconduct has made it more difficult for the good cops to do their jobs.

BLM has helped focus attention on legitimate concerns about the training and culture of North American police forces. Thanks to the increased scrutiny on police everywhere (in part because of the increasing use of video to document encounters), we know that officers often use dehumanizing terms such as “a clean shoot” to describe the killing of suspects who are seen as threats to public and police safety. Moreover, it’s reasonable to ask why municipal police departments are brandishing military-grade vehicles and weapons—a phenomenon that raises concerns not only among black community activists but also civil libertarians.

Toronto police have had military-style vehicles for years, and recently have added the C8 carbine to the arsenal available in squad cars. The visuals associated with such military-style weaponry do little to discourage the idea that black neighborhoods are under siege by those mandated to serve and protect them.

While Toronto’s poorest black neighborhoods are located far from downtown, the immediacy of social media has helped bridge this geographical distance. And BLM-Toronto has brought its physical protests into the city’s wealthier districts. When BLM-Toronto blocked traffic on a busy street in July 2015, it made front-page news. When the group organized a sit-in at the Toronto Police Headquarters for two weeks, Ontario’s then-Premier, Kathleen Wynne, responded by declaring that there is “systemic racism in our society.” These were real wins for the Toronto black community, which often gets ignored by reporters except when they are reporting on violent crime.

But BLM-Toronto arguably was not equipped to handle its own success, as the group had no established source of funding or institutional infrastructure. Its grass-roots structure was the source of its perceived authenticity, but also its lack of professionalism.

Even its authenticity seemed questionable to some. One leading BLM member was accused of orchestrating a fraudulent severance package, worth almost CA$300,000, when she left her position as executive director of the University of Toronto’s Student Union. The case was eventually settled, with the individual being required to pay back an undisclosed amount to the union. But the spectacle surrounding an overpaid campus apparatchik caused embarrassment to a group that was supposed to represent one of the city’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. BLM’s 2016 conflict with Pride Toronto also needlessly alienated many potential allies. Pride Toronto had given BLM a place of honor in that year’s parade, and many volunteers felt betrayed when the activist group hijacked the event for its own purposes.

That very public confrontation marked a turning point in the way Torontonians talked about BLM. On Twitter, activists suddenly were told they had to close ranks and support BLM unconditionally. And members of the LGBT community who opposed the 2016 protest often were shamed as racists. While Pride Toronto is itself a highly progressive organization, the issue of BLM’s behavior during the 2016 parade caused it to become politically sub-tribalized.

Yusra Khogali (Pic: Twitter)

My attempts to interview BLM-Toronto leaders for this article were unsuccessful. Which perhaps was foreseeable: Last year, I wrote a Huffington Post column urging the resignation of BLM-Toronto co-founder Yusra Khogali following the disclosure that she had tweeted in 2016: “Plz Allah give me strength to not cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today.” Khogali also wrote that “Whiteness is not humxness,” “white skin is sub-humxn,” and “White ppl are recessive genetic defects. this is factual.” In the blowback from that column, I was instructed by (mostly Caucasian) activists to understand that it was Canada’s white supremacist system that lay behind Khogali’s rage; and that even if she engaged in what is technically hate speech, the historical dynamic between blacks and whites gave her hyperbole a moral truth that I just had to accept.

Despite such controversies, plenty of members of Toronto’s black community do continue to laud and support BLM. Adhimu Stewart, a Toronto hip hop artist, writer, and adult film actor, tells me the group is a “much needed wake-up call for a lot of smug and self-absorbed Canadians unaware of oppressions still faced by various non-European cultures and communities.” Consistent with BLM claims, he believes we are living within a white supremacist culture, and that “generational trauma [is] still ignored by all levels of government.” He says, “No [Prime Minister] or Premier has ever consistently and respectably addressed the black community in Canada, and I don’t feel they are willing to share power with a pro-black party on a provincial or national level.” (Khogali herself once called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “white supremacist terrorist.”)

As with any community, Toronto’s black residents don’t speak with a single voice. Older and more conservative black residents, especially business owners, often are more inclined to give the police the benefit of the doubt. According to U.S. author and conservative web host Taleeb Starkes, BLM leaders have difficulty understanding that not everyone in the community applauds their message.

“They don’t like black people who do not fit inside the image that conveys struggle and injustice,” he tells me. “They assume that because I criticized Black Lives Matter, I’m a sellout who doesn’t live in the hood, has a white wife, never been to jail, and [is] sponsored by the Republican Party. The thing is, I still live in the hood in Philly, my wife is black, [and] I’ve been to jail.”

Starkes, an admittedly fringe figure within black American politics, drew the ire of BLM after his book Black Lies Matter was published in 2016. He argues that the group actually contributes to a negative societal image of black communities by demonizing all police officers, especially in the immediate aftermath of police shootings. There is a clear moral contradiction when a group demands that blacks not be subjected to prejudice, but then makes negative generalizations about an entire profession.

“Police shootings are the low hanging fruit,” he says. “Even when the facts are unclear, the modus operandi is to blame systemic racism…Well, I’m a black person in America, and I don’t agree with that at all.”

Frances Bradshaw, a black conservative political consultant who has worked behind the scenes in Ontario politics for many years, tells me that, as a staunch supporter of civil rights and someone who had endured racism personally, she applauded the emergence of BLM.

“I believe that if my husband were to be killed by police, the only organization who would speak up would be BLM,” she tells me. “But I also know that [the group] has been short-sighted in [its] actions beyond activism.”

Being decentralized and informally organized, BLM has difficulty separating its brand from online extremists who operate under the group’s hashtags. These include the handful of Twitter users who sent me violent threats after my name was circulated on BLM threads—this coming on top of the various media posts calling me a racist, a white supremacist, and a Nazi. To make matters worse, David Duke had tweeted out my piece, and Chuck D, of the legendary hip hop group Public Enemy, said my work was the product of a “sad 500-year track record [of] white males in world leadership.”

BLM had become used to receiving almost entirely positive coverage from the progressive media. When Khogali was caught tweeting out her unsettling comments about killing “white folks,” mainstream Toronto outlets responded mostly by fretting that—as Khogali put it—“the noise surrounding this tweet has also drowned out the discussion we sought to spark about the black lives of those who have died at the guns of police in this country.” This is part of a broader pattern, by which (no doubt well-intentioned) journalists bend over backwards to excuse even the most radical-seeming gestures from BLM (or antifa) protestors, in deference to the social-justice overtones of their cause.

But as Coleman Hughes put it in a recent Quillette column, “What happened to your parents, grandparents, or fellow tribe members is supposed to be left at the door when it comes time to judge your actions. We do not give Jewish writers free rein to incite hatred against German people because the former’s grandparents were murdered by the latter’s.”

One of the reasons BLM shot to prominence so quickly in Toronto is that it seemed to fill a need for a vocal, high-profile group representing the interests of Canadian blacks. Canada has no real equivalent of the NAACP, though there are some efforts to create something like it. BLM leaders could have taken advantage of their moment, and embarked on a PR campaign to support research and grants for disadvantaged communities, and created active partnerships with left-of-centre politicians. But instead, BLM-Toronto’s leaders chose to focus on promoting an uncompromising message through street protest and online manifestos. It was a workable strategy only for so long as journalists remained interested in providing it with a consistent signal boost. But as with all stories, the media eventually moved on.

Moreover, BLM-Toronto’s public statements often seem drenched in avant-garde jargon that have no connection to the majority of black community members; or, indeed, to anyone who is not a critical-race academic. BLM-Toronto activists, for instance, reportedly have received a grant from The Groundswell Fund for the Black Lives Matter Toronto Freedom School, which will be “a three-week program for children aged four to ten. The purpose of the project is to respond to a lack of humanizing, self-affirming, queer-positive educational opportunities for Black children in the GTA…The program is designed to teach children about Black Canadian and diasporic history, to engage children in political resistance to anti-Black racism and state violence through a trans-feminist lens, and to offer children an entry point into the #BlackLivesMatter movement.” Many black parents have complaints about public education in Toronto. A lack of “trans-feminist” perspectives is not known to rank highly among them. (No details are available as to when the program will start up.)

Other BLM-Toronto amenities listed on the group’s web site include the creation of a Black Liberation Collective, “consisting of Black students who are dedicated to transforming institutions of higher education to eliminate anti-Blackness,” and a matching service to provide event organizers with BLM-affiliated speakers. Khogali herself still seems to be in demand, despite the controversy over her tweets. Earlier this year, she received a government-administered Award for Young Women in Leadership. Upon receipt, she raised her fist and declared, “We are still living in an anti-black city.”

Is Toronto really an anti-black city? As in many parts of North America, the data certainly suggest that the city’s blacks are, on average, poorer than their white counterparts. Moreover, blacks account for only 9 percent of Toronto’s residents, yet comprise 35 percent of those killed in deadly encounters with police since 2000. Whether or not these problems originate primarily with bigotry, Toronto’s black community would be well-served by coalitions organized to find solutions. But BLM Toronto’s leaders have shown they are more interested in protesting problems than partnering with others to solve them.

Featured Pic by Gerry Lauzon

 

James Di Fiore is a freelance reporter/journalist, covering politics and media. You can follow him on Twitter 

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97 Comments

  1. Fred says

    While I have read a few good articles on Quillette, this is not one of them.

    • Prince of Slugs says

      I would agree with Fred. This a sad sort of hand-wringing and liberal jargon you see in the NYT. Pretty sad to see this on Quillette.

    • Better to take a look at http://heyjackass.com to see the real destruction of the black community. The page is full of bitter, dark humor. My favorite is the shot-in-the-ass-o-meter. While gazing on this American carnage, look at the police-involved shootings and observe it’s in the single digits. THAT was what BLM identified as the problem. THAT was the number that had to be lowered.

      Scandalous.

  2. Alex Popkin says

    A good column, though it would have benefited from looking at more examples outside of Toronto. It reflects exactly what I’ve been thinking. BLM grew in popularity and appeal while it was focused on the core mission of tackling police violence against innocent black people. But when they started firing off online demands for far-left positions on everything from charters schools to Israel/Palestine, most people rapidly wandered away. The example of the Toronto Pride parade is illustrative. Few of the progressives involved will ever denounce BLM openly, but many will just stop participating or caring because of that kind of thing.

    • David says

      Good point Alex, I actually cracked open BLM’s manifesto once to understand them, a few years ago. I stopped as soon as I saw the garbage about Palestine and liberal causes around the world. Telling a single black mother to care about Israel when she just wants her child not to join a gang, sling drugs and get shot before 20 is ridiculous.

    • mstirling111@hotmail.com says

      more importantly, it grew in popularity when it was focused on core mission on tackling alleged police violence against portrayed “innocent” black people. when it started coming out that most of these “poor victims” weren’t exactly so sparkly clean…. well its the boy who cried wolf

  3. Bill says

    The problem with BLM is that it rose from the political Left who is so ingrained with identity-politics-warfare and intersectionality that they have forgotten how to pose a coalition building argument which is necessary to affect change. They have become mired in intersectional naming and narrow messaging.

    At the core of the BLM complaint isn’t “omg, cops are after blacks!” — it is perceived inequality in law enforcement and a perceived lack of accountability for LEOs. Now, they chose to exclusively frame it as “BLACK” Lives Matter and explicitly countered any All Lives Matter responses which should have been their perfect segue to change. The same perceived biased policing (biased in terms of LEO behavior towards black society) is experienced by many groups but the BLM moniker and actions of many (not all) made it divisive. Example: All the reporting about Szrok should now make it clear that HRC was treated differently than DJT. Immunities galore for clearly bad actors in the case of HJC (like bad acting LEOs) while nitpicky charges on anything for DJT (like black/poor society).

    If the BLM had risen not out of partisan political hacks and race-baiting/identity politics, it would likely have found many willing supporters from groups they have shunned with a net result of actual change. The Tea Party groups harassed by the IRS for their 501 designations. The current administration’s ex-members under constant harassment for things they may have done 15 years ago simply due to their association with DJT. Imagine how much mileage the movement would have gotten for accountability if they built such a large coalition of those aggrieved by perceived law enforcement bias. Instead, they are stuck in their Orwellian world where they have carved out a much smaller target group creating an “us vs them.”

  4. Jake says

    To anger a conservative, lie to him.

    To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.

  5. If a disproportionate number of blacks have ‘killed’ by Toronto police, what is the black communities contribution to violent crime. Looking at this year’s black on black murders, if looks pretty high. Stats anyone ?

    • Steve says

      @John – everyone knows crime rates are higher in black (and other minority groups) communities. Why this is so is irrelevant to the fact that totally innocent, upstanding black citizens are consistently lumped in with the criminals purely because they happen to be black. Even if the rate of criminality is much higher than among whites or Asians, there remains a large majority of black citizens who are not criminals at all.

      In my jurisdiction there is a not insubstantial amount of crime carried out by white people — largely around drugs like meth. Nobody has *ever* treated me with the slightest bit of suspicion or wariness merely because I am of the same race/ethnicity and indeed come from the same part of the city as many of the white criminals.

      This is the simple reality black people have to endure. It is no surprise they are angry and frustrated.

      • Mike says

        Actually, if you look like a meth user, then you’ll get the same treatment regardless of your color. We have evolved to have a very sensitive threat-detection system, a valuable asset when dealing with potentially dangerous situations, which is the reality of police work.

        Look what happened in Baltimore when police stopped aggressively enforcing laws. How many black lives have been lost to the demands of BLM?

      • Bmore honest says

        No it’s not, with all due respect it’s just anecdotes and conjecture. As somebody who hears from more citizens and fewer activists, I get very different picture. Coleman Hughes is doing a fine job here, as well. And I’m hard pressed to think of one case that made national headlines where race was a critical decisive element. The most sympathetic would probably be Castile, and I have to say I can still understand – to a point – how getting pulled over then declaring you have a gun might cause predictable alarm. But the case of Daniel Shaver, for example, is handily the worst example to date of police misconduct (he wasn’t even running away, FFS), and the story comes and goes like a fart in the wind. So I’m not at all convinced that it’s anything more than a convenient way to further paint white America in a bad light, which makes the white left feel like they’re making progress. Well here in Baltimore City we’re on track to continue the record murder rates that ironically came about with the combination of BLM and sweeping new state gun laws. Clearly that’s not progress.

        • Toryhere says

          As long as its criminals killing blacks and not the police, the BLM crowd doesn’t care if the number of dead raises tenfold. When that does happen, they will of course get the chance to blame the police for not protecting black people.

      • MyName says

        oh i dunno, you can definitely tell a dodgy white guy around here, easily recognisable to both civilians and police. and i think it is important to distinguish between the real life reality and the social media reality, because activism makes them not the same at the same time as it fights to improve the former.

    • Fred says

      This is why the author of this article is not credible. Anyone who looks into the violent crime statistics can clearly see that there is no “systemic bluh blah blerk blark” just a lot of black-on-black murders, followed by black-on-white murders. BLM has never had any credibility in my opinion and BLM Toronto someone has less-than-zero. One of the first things I saw one of the BLM Toronto talking head saying was some diatribe about racism and slavery… and I thought wow, maybe you want to change your jingoist dog whistle race baiting for a Canadian audience given our historical differences from the US, but nope.

      I recently found this site: https://heyjackass.com/ which is literally pointing out the hypocrisy and lack of reporting of the endemic black-on-black crime in Chicago. The author might want to check that out.

      Overall, I’m unimpressed and not surprised that someone who bandies their credentials of “writing for HuffPo” is pushing a watered down oppression stack narrative while simultaneously trying to doublethink why BLM (Toronto) has no credibility.

      The trial transcripts and evidence for the high profile incidences citing in this article are available online and generally completely debunk police-shooting-unarmed-black-men narrative.

      Turns out, people don’t really support groups calling for the death of police officers, I hate to tell you, you imbecile communists.

      • Every murder victim has a 90% chance of being killed by a person of the same race. It is not exclusive to black people.

        Thanks for reading.

        • @James: you really need to do more research if you want to dabble in trying to explain the disintegration of a movement that was predicated on a lie in the first place. It’s clear you haven’t done your research. The actual empirical evidence suggests that black males get shot more because they are involved in more armed conflicts with police officers than any other racial group. Here’s a stat you may want to ruminate on: blacks make up 14% of the population but are responsible for 46% of all homicides. Yikes!

        • Fred says

          Your statistic, like your oppression narrative double think, is not borne out by facts.

          ~50% of all murders are committed by <13% of the population (blacks), more like 70%. 20x chance of ending up in prison from product of single motherhood. Unless being married to the state is systemic racism (by choice), the narrative is bullshit.

          • ga gamba says

            ~50% of all murders are committed by <13% of the population (blacks)

            It’s even worse. Males overwhelmingly commit murder, so halve it to 6.5%. We know the very young and the old generally commit very few crimes, so almost all the murders are committed by those aged 14 to 40, which is about 3% of the population.

        • Mike says

          As a percentage, would you say more blacks are killed by whites, or whites by blacks? Because black crime seems to be the elephant in the room. Not dealing with it directly and honestly will engender more hostility and more racism.

          • Fred says

            @Mike The stats bear out that inter-racial murder is much much less common than intra-race murder (80% w-o-w, 90% b-o-b) but b-o-w is 2x the w-o-b rate, it’s relatively low given that falls into the <20% and <10% category which also comprises all other ethnic groups.

          • Bmore honest says

            Yeah, zooming in even one click is routinely damaging to tip-of-the-iceberg stats like that, nothing against the author. It is a bit of an elephant at times, but at others it’s addressed without much hesitation – which is to say it’s just boomeranged back onto “systemic institutional historical disenfranchisement” and other big vague words of decreasing relevance. I live in Baltimore City, 30 years now, and those murdering people don’t seem to be the ones in dire straights. They’re just young, bored, selfish, ignorant, hostile, unaccountable, and influenced by a culture that’s anything but liberal – it skews much more toward actual toxic masculinity, religion, racism within the race, and away from things like environmentalism and LGBT concerns. So it’s no wonder the white left has absolutely no idea how to handle this, and it’s up to people like the Cease Fire movement and Balaclava Mom to fix it.

        • Crowstep says

          Just under half of African American crime is interracial (assuming we’re crudely splitting America into black and white), about 3% of white crime is interracial. I’m not sure what your statistic is based on or from which country it derives, but it doesn’t seem to fit with what I’ve read.

        • Nate says

          Yeah but dude that rate is exorbitantly higher in black communities.

          Yes if you’re shot, there’s a roughly 90% chance it’s by someone of your same racial background, whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, or Asian, etc. But this happens way more in the black community than any other demographic.

          C’mon, don’t try and hand wave an obvious problem. Fred is correct about how full of bs these media narratives are. If BLM was truly concerned about black lives, they’d be focusing on all the black on black shootings and other crime that goes on, as well as restoring the black family, the breakdown of which is largely the root of all this. The hypocrisy combined with their antics and sanctimony is absolutely despicable.

      • Tedz says

        “Anyone who looks into the violent crime statistics” can clearly see that there is no “systemic bluh blah blerk blark”. Killings? NO. But other discriminatory treatment – the data is there to see.

        E.g. the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Roland Fryer, whose 2016 study examined 1,332 police shootings between 2000 and 2015, and determined that:

        “black men and women are treated differently in the hands of law enforcement. They are more likely to be touched, handcuffed, pushed to the ground or pepper-sprayed by a police officer, even after accounting for how, where and when they encounter the police. But when it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias” [New York Times]

        Funny how so many commentators on this article want to laud empiricism but neatly ignore this piece of evidence.

  6. James says

    A group like that should never say or do anything that is clearly motivated by anti whiteness if they want reasonable allies. If “removing anti blackness” is really code for hating whitey-this becomes obvious quickly. It encourages an increase in explicit conscious white identity politics.

    By claiming to be on the side of the angels with all whites complict in “systemic” oppression we also get ideas like “oppression only flows down the hierarchy” which translates quickly into “violence is justified if you are oppressed.” That’s how the Rwandan genocide happened. Same rationale. In nigeria this year 1,000 african christians have been killed by government backed islamic militias. Where is blm for that?

    When the press glosses over that “out of sympathy” it creates a void which is filled by people who are critical. Some of those are real white supremacists who are thrilled about the evidence blm gives them. It is recruiting gold. Richard Spencer the white nationalist leader was asked about the work of Coates. Spencer said something like “i love Coates because he sells white liberals race essentialism, once they buy into that-i can flip them.” And he is doing exactly that with Yusra Khogali’s help.

    “Black culture hates rule of law and due process because they are fundamentally tribal.” This is not a narrative you want to validate if you want to stop real white supremacists. Police being guilted
    into not ticketing people might feel good in the short term but it creates resentment in the long term. Carrying a gun to feel powerful is the same.

    If police stop patrolling at risk communities and proactively stopping people then who takes over? Gangs and mafia. While some people might feel more safe with these groups-perhaps knowing people in them-the chances of being shot by one of them is something like 1000x higher than by police. And what is the recourse if that happens? Revenge to protect honour. And we get perpetuation.

    Once things get really out of hand the patience and compassion of the public grow cold. And this is when very harsh tactics begin to get suppport. Like the military sweeps in brasil and APCs in Northern Ireland. When the real wolf comes you don’t want to have burned out your reputation. People are already blaming blm for the increase in gang shootings after removing carding and tavis which were designed to limit gang activity before.

    Everyone has potential for good and evil. We have our own perspectives which are all valuable. And marginalized people we do need to listen to. But a healthy dose
    of critical thinking is necessary both when looking at systems and when looking at the ideas which claim to improve them. Due process is not a white supremacist construct to be discarded-it prevents lynch mobs. The police are the biggest gang so be nice to them and win their hearts and minds.

  7. Craig D Gorsuch says

    “There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a lacing out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy, and partly becuase it pays. Some of these people do not want the Nergo to lose their grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers to won’t want the patient to get well, becuase as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.”

    Booker T Washington, “My Larger Education”, 1911

    • Melvin Backstrom says

      Thanks for the reminder of this great quotation.

  8. markbul says

    “blacks account for only 9 percent of Toronto’s residents, yet comprise 35 percent of those killed in deadly encounters with police since 2000. ”

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Now tell us how what proportion of violent crimes are committed by Toronto’s black residents. Police don’t go into Sunday church services and shoot people at random. They are paid to do society’s dirty work – the work the rest of us don’t want to do. Be very careful what you ask for – Baltimore’s murder rate skyrocketed when the police decided not to actively deter crime, and only answer calls. The police in Toronto could do the same.

    • Dave says

      Toronto police shoot & kill 3 citizens per year (1 of whom is black), whereas homicide rate is 50-100 per year. The last black male I recall killed by police was being sought for double homicide the previous day, not surpisingly he resisted arrest,

  9. @James Di Fiore: Thanks for the article, however, the conclusion you reach shows a lack of willingness to be honest about what we know regarding the ‘structural racism’ narrative. I’ll sum up what actual studies have found: there is no evidence of systemic racism causing fatal shootings of black males in America. Did you stop to think that maybe this could be one of the reasons BLM is in decline? and that maybe these studies should be included as possible explanations in an article attempting to explain this decline?

    Or maybe its the fact that BLM protests and activity have actually led to the lax policing efforts in places like Baltimore and Chicago which have been transformed into a “gangster paradise” replete with sky-rocketing murder rates and unchecked black-on-black crime?

    BTW: you need to check your privilege at the door, the unearned privilege you seem to assume for yourself that gives you the right to suggest that inequalities in group outcomes are evidence of ‘structural white racism.’ It is truly an unearned and despicable privilege you exercise when you condemn an entire group of people as oppressive based on nothing but their skin color. Check that privilege.

      • “Is Toronto really an anti-black city? As in many parts of North America, the data certainly suggest that the city’s blacks are, on average, poorer than their white counterparts. Moreover, blacks account for only 9 percent of Toronto’s residents, yet comprise 35 percent of those killed in deadly encounters with police since 2000. Whether or not these problems originate primarily with bigotry…”

        If you had done your research you would know there is no evidence to suggest that problems such as these originate with bigotry. It is incumbent upon you as a credible journalist to report the facts and not leave open-ended ambiguities where there is indeed evidence that heavily tilts the scales against the “bigotry” narrative.

        • Il. Meyer says

          Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Nonetheless, your claim that there is no evidence for structural racism is just laughable. That it exists can also be clearly seen in the continuing injustices facing native peoples in Canada and beyond. The author of the piece, James Di Fiore, has actually been quite careful in his reporting here and he clearly understands — unlike you — that “open-ended ambiguities” are par-for-the-course when looking at and analysing social issues. You would do well to read up on the idea of “wicked problems” as well as the considerable literature on complexity and complexity-thinking rather than cherry-picking statistics to buttress your narrative.

    • Dave says

      I dont think James was making that case, actually.

  10. Northern Observer says

    If you really want to address the toxic ideology of Toronto’s BLM chapter you need to examine and criticize the genocidal racism embedded in the theology of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and other African american identitarian groups. Yusra Khogali’s kill the white subhumans comment did not come out of a vacuum, there is a long African American scholarship that nurtures these kinds of views as necessary to black liberation.

    I know you have been brave for taking on BLM as much as you have but if you really want to address the heart of the matter you need to be like the European scholars who took on holocaust denial and dare to go to the darkest intellectual corners of the African American community because that is the source of the poison that is behind BLMs failure to be transformative.

    Good Luck.

  11. @Fiore: Here’s the real problem. The more journalists such as yourself continue to suggest that the system is racist based on group outcome stats, the more BLM is empowered and the more they are able continue hurting the communities they pretend to care about. If you were being honest, you would have also reported the stats that suggest group outcomes are a horrible indicator of whether or not the system is racist. You see, telling the truth can actually help people in a very real way. Please consider this going forward.

  12. Dark Matter says

    Wasn’t there a fairly high-profile study that made the rounds about a year ago that posited some statistical evidence showing that blacks are shot by cops less often per capita than whites? If I recall correctly, it measured various police encounters in 7 or so major U.S. cities using both police records and individual accounts. Some facets were shown as being slightly higher for blacks, for instance the “roughness” with which they were handled by police – but the big surprise (even to the researcher, who was specifically trying to prove that cops kill relatively more blacks) was that the stats on actual shootings were the opposite of what we tend to hear from groups like BLM (which suggests the high-profile cases really do get over-amplified).

    I remember thinking that it was hardly a conclusive study either way, as a 7-city sample size seemed quite small (also what about rural areas?), and the sources of information seemed like they could be inconsistent. But it did spark some conversation in media at the time, and seems relevant to perhaps look back on in light of an article like this.

    I wish I could remember more details, and especially the name of the researcher.

  13. True Fezer Wolff says

    “BLM Toronto’s leaders have shown they are more interested in protesting problems than partnering with others to solve them.”

    This last sentence is the most significant in the article. Much of activism today has become more performance art than a sincere attempt to do the hard work of solving very real economic and social problems. Sadly, much of contemporary politics falls into the same category. Many would prefer to be entertained by this drama rather than be educated by facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

    • peanut gallery says

      Other than the problematicness of some of the BLM leadership, when I read up on their website to read what they stand for, I found that they have no solutions for the problems they say exist. Assuming that everything they say is true. (I don’t) They offer no map to reconciliation. The only thing I can guess is they just want to turn the tables and be oppressors.

  14. I don’t get all the harsh criticism of this article, particularly when that criticism slants heavily anti BLM. The author is hardly applauding them yet he gets accused of it simply because he doesn’t condemn them enough.

      • Melvin Backstrom says

        No, you’re not at all crazy. The article is very good, and pitched perfectly to achieve a wider, more influential, audience. The criticisms leveled at it in these comments display a remarkable ignorance of rhetoric and effective argumentation.

      • Jon says

        That’s the reality of the current climate. If an article doesn’t assume the exact tone one wants to hear, many on ‘the right’ show they are just as reactionary, just as aimless, and just as guilty of group-think as anyone on ‘the left’.

        This piece was even handed, but a bit bland. I figure it was aimed at an audience sympathetic to the ‘progressive’ cause. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

        • Fred says

          @Jon That’s a really weak criticism of the criticism. The article pushes quite a few bog standard progressive narratives that many have taken issue with. It’s not about tone or echo chamber policing and your resorting to the-left-this and the-right-that is as typical as it is boring. Furthermore, the author hasn’t done much if anything to defend against criticism but simply “thanks and happy” to have anyone reading his work apparently.

    • Andrew says

      Very thoughtful piece that has stirred up the right wingers because it takes a balanced look at the issue. I read Quillette to get out of the echo chamber, not to join another one. Cool your jets ideologues.

    • Margaret says

      Agree completely! I thought this piece was smart and relevant. No need to lash out at a writer who has already been bullied plenty for daring to be critical of BLM. It’s disappointing to see the readership here engage in similar name-calling and defensiveness.

  15. Banks says

    This article is FAR below the usual standards of Quillette. Just writing to signal my dissatisfaction with such tosh being published.

  16. V 2.0 says

    The problem with BLM and groups like it is that when they protest every shooting of a black person regardless of the circumstances or, in fact, before the circumstances are fully known they are asking the police to do the impossible, which is to never shoot any black person. Ever. Since this is statistically unlikely unless the police refuse to do their jobs protests will continue and the alleged problem of racism will never be solved to the protesters satisfaction. All that will happen is that life will be more difficult for good police officers and eventually we may get a situation where only the incompetent and those who don’t care (ie. racists) will apply for the job. Which will not be good for anyone.

  17. Eric says

    @AA and Fred: you guys are getting hung up on the wrong details here. Either that or we have wildly different takes on this article. To me this is a reasonably argued piece about BLM Toronto’s failure to manifest into something with any kind of cultural longevity or political economy. The alleged corruption charges at the top of the organization are one proposed reason for this: another would be the contradictory nature of demanding a more decent and just society, while at the same time, reinforcing the prejudiced notion that all police are violent and bigoted.

    Arguing against the existence of systemic racism is fine (though stating there is “no study of systemic racism causing fatal shootings of black men in America” seems intellectually vacuous. It’s kind of like saying men are making more money than women ergo patriarchy). But nowhere does the author state “systemic racism exists and here is the evidence.” I honestly don’t know where you’ve read that, unless you’re referring to the 6th paragraph. There, he’s careful to ground the systemic racism hypothesis in observable concerns (police training, aggressive tactics, internal culture in law enforcement based on interviews, etc.) I’m not sure if he’s correct or not, but I’ll score more points for that than anything I’ll award to you two for the “do more research, you’re not credible, you’re a hack for being published on HuffPost” rhetoric.

    I don’t know James and I don’t owe him anything but you guys are square holing this round peg big time. He’s not talking about systemic racism: he’s talking about Toronto BLM and its failures. Your comments read like you’ve got an axe to grind with the guy and haven’t really considered what he’s written.

      • ga gamba says

        @ Mr Di Fiore,

        I think your article’s explanation about police shootings is more balanced than most I’ve read about this issue, however the failure to explore those who commit crime disproportionately are more likely to interact with police is very conspicuous.

        You write that blacks are 35% of those killed by police: Moreover, blacks account for only 9 percent of Toronto’s residents, yet comprise 35 percent of those killed in deadly encounters with police since 2000.

        A more balanced account would be to mention the crime rate by blacks. If blacks were committing only two per cent of the crime I think most would see a very large disparity. Still, more analysis is required. If almost all of black crime was violent, involved weapons such as guns, and most of these men threatened police with these weapons, then 35% might not be out of whack. You need to delve deeper.

        I think most of the commentators’ objections stem from your use of a univariate result. This may fly at at Huffpo, Salon, and the Guardian, but I think you failed to understand the readership here is savvy to this sleight-of-hand narrative. They expect a multivariate analysis.

        All in all it’s not a bad article. Better than most that appear in the mainstream press. I think you have the skills to do better.

        • D.B. Cooper says

          @ga gamba

          Well said. I think you’re judgement, here, is spot on.

          I don’t perceive Mr. Di Fiore to be a bad actor. That is to say, the soft spots in his article – and they are a bit too slippery for this audience to accept – are not (in my opinion) a reflection of bad faith.

          I think the most one could say is that, at times, Di Fiore has unfortunately allowed his biases (via not actively guarding against them) to color his assessment of the causal forces at play within and between the black community, and the criminal justice systems tasked to police, proscute, and defend them.

          This is understandable to some extent – no one can perfectly guard against their natural inclinations. God knows I can’t. But accepting that this will occur does not change the expectation that it will not, or should not effect one’s analysis. At least, as you point out, with respect to readership here at Quillette. But overall, a worthwhile piece.

        • Well put ga gamba!

          People come to quillette as an antidote to mainstream media that habitually misuses and abuses statistical data. They get away with it because their average reader is not trained in statistical methods for the social sciences. Many of us here are trained in statistical methods and are understandably distraught when stats are used in such a superficial and suggestive manner. One of the main reasons for coming to quillette is to get away from that type of analysis. It doesn’t matter whether the article tilts left or right—- get your stats in order, or if you lack the skills, just eschew stats altogether and keep your claims strictly qualitative.

      • Melvin Backstrom says

        What Eric said, exactly. Thanks for writing this.

      • Margaret says

        Exactly. And I’m sorry you’re dealing with this incessantly. Keep up the good and important work!!! You don’t have to please everyone (as you obviously already know), and your reasonable thoughts and research are SO valuable in this current climate of extremism on every side.

  18. Peuri says

    I don’t understand the criticism of this article either. It was an easy read and the substance matter was nuanced and informative. I wouldn’t want Quillette to be just another echo chamber.

    Thank you

  19. Re: the condemnation of this piece —

    No doubt many of the commentariat found the pseudo-objectivity of the last paragraph – the ol’ ‘leaving it open-ended’ journalese, as the author commented – cowardly, a cop out. (I agree: he should have left out the last paragraph completely — the preceding para would have made a perfect ending.)

    Anyway, I myself find this kind of on-the-ground reporting extremely entertaining. Take it for what it is – and don’t expect a journalist, freelance or not, to take a courageous stand (And consider that all of Quillette’s stuff is pretty consistently center-left, anyhow.) That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to nudge him – and the readers too – but gently, gently. The writers and editors are not anonymous, after all. How much easier it is to be politically incorrect when you’re anonymous, when you don’t have a reputation to protect!

    • Yes, true.

      I can’t imagine, for instance, too many more HufPo gigs if the author had strayed too far from received wisdom.

      As you say, very understandable timidity.

        • X. Citoyen says

          @James Di Fiore: You should write your next piece about that experience. I’m sure you’ll find a number of people with the same one.

          • ga gamba says

            That’s a great suggestion. Especially if the piece is rich with examples of what Mr Di Fiore submitted and what the editors changed or wanted changed. Even better if includes the back-and-forth negotiation or debate about what to omit, change, and amplify.

          • Fred says

            @X. Citoyen I absolutely second that. Instead of presenting a luke warm, watered down progressive lens of why BLM is “not effective”, I would be much more interested in the authors experience with defying the progressive echo chamber and the consequences. This article was “sufficiently timid” for reasons another commentator pointed out (I would assume) but still in line with the typical cops-are-bigots, systemic racism and blm-are-appealing-for-justice false narratives.

          • Hutch says

            I would be very interested to see the degree of slant that Huffpo attempted to inject.

            Editors notes could be worth their weight in gold.

            Please be careful not to incriminate yourself or open yourself up to a civil claim.

  20. peanut gallery says

    The difference between Yusra Khogali and Richard Spencer is skin-deep. Literally.

  21. Finding pieces cronicalling the disintegration of various social movements marching behind flag of Identity Politics is certainly no challenge these days. Given the tribalistic, hateful and totalitarian nature of that Ideology it’s no surprise either. At this point is one more tale regaling the reader with sordid but predictable details really going to make a difference? The autopsy is in, suicide by hubris is the finding, it’s time to clean up the scene and find the motive. Before these sundry movements decided to impale themselves on the exact human frailties they claimed to be the sole purview of White Hertoro Men they had legitimate issues. We need to return to that, but starting from an foundational Ideology that is inclusive, open and just.

  22. c young says

    > I was instructed by (mostly Caucasian) activists to understand that it was Canada’s white supremacist system that lay behind Khogali’s rage; and that even if she engaged in what is technically hate speech, the historical dynamic between blacks and whites gave her hyperbole a moral truth that I just had to accept.

    This level of stupidity is simply unintelligible. We are being asked to embrace violent racism as a counter to subliminal racism? Views that are false, violent and racist are “morally true” in some putative historical context?

    Canada seems to experiencing a moral and intellectual crisis (among the nominally educated at least).

  23. Grant Dewar says

    James thanks for the integrity you have shown in your replies to your critics, thanks for an insightful article

  24. Sydney says

    I’m glad the author gave this a critical look, since these individuals are particularly obnoxious. However, a huge hole and major fail is that it treats Toronto, and Canada, as little more than an extension of America and its cities. It gives an erroneous impression that ‘black’ Canadians are a homogeneous group like the majority of black Americans, which they’re not, and which changes the whole game. Canadian blacks have no history or issues similar to the history of black Americans, no matter how BLM Toronto might spin it.

    Agenda-driven BLM Toronto leaders reference those historical American issues (slavery, exploitation, racism, civil rights, black power, etc.) through their bullhorns every day, which I suppose is why uninformed Canadians might accept their parameters and use those basic errors and false equivalencies as their point of departure.

    Maybe the author could do a Part 2 of this and dive into the history of blacks in Canada, and especially in Toronto. There are lots of interesting issues and questions about black history in the Maritimes (where small populations of blacks did escape from American slavery) and Toronto (whose original black population is almost uniformly from the Caribbean, and they arrived entirely of their own volition).

    Just reading ‘Toronto’, ‘Baltimore’, and ‘Chicago’ (or any American locale) in the same paragraph with reference to Canadian blacks is laughable. If BLM Toronto rose and declined, it’s because there were no roots of actual systemic racism and slavery to attach to in the first place, and BLM Toronto simply rests on theoretical marxist drivel, which bottomed out quickly. Blacks are just another piece of the immigrant quilt of Canada, not a special, put-upon victim group of historical racism. Did a black individual suffer X, Y, or Z (zed!) from time to time? Sure, and so has every other Canadian immigrant individual at some point!

    If Quillette is being read around the world then this kind of background information is absolutely necessary, lest a reader think Canada’s history has anything to do with America’s on this point (and many other points). Canadians aren’t being taught about their history, and nobody outside our borders (or what’s left of them) is expected to know any of this.

    • Melvin Backstrom says

      I take your points, and agree that the very different history of blacks in Canada compared to the USA is an important, though much-too-less-discussed topic. But one article can only do so much. And if one cares about getting readers, because they might learn something, then the longer any piece of writing is, the fewer people are going to read it.

      Why don’t you write a follow-up article, Sydney?

  25. Matt says

    I’d be far more interested in a piece detailing the inner work environment of HuffPo. What exactly is the culture like in that cesspool? Do the bloggers all report to a giant slug-queen? Is there a five-minutes hate scheduled daily, where purple haired fatties all shriek at a screen showing clips of the Donald? I imagine it’s a pretty dehumanizing experience.

    • Margaret says

      @Matt no need to get into people’s weight. Am assuming that’s not the reason you dislike liberals anyway.

  26. Kessler says

    The decades of rape in UK, with hundreds of victims, happened because police and administration felt, that bad actors in the “Asian” community shouldn’t be policed. There is a human cost to the issue. I’m all for police accountability – who wouldn’t support it? I am against prohibiting policing of people, based on the color of their skin, which is what BLM demanded in practice.

  27. Charles White says

    A couple of thoughts, and my apologies if someone has already pointed them out.

    First, the crucial statement in the article is the concluding statement. The question in all these “movements” is what do they propose that will positively solve the problem, and make lives better. Since most “movements” have a single focus, such positive alternatives should be well thought out and directional. Solutions that can be seriously adapted and implemented for the greater good of all society. Yet these positive alternatives are never forthcoming from “movements”.

    Second, and somewhat related, my unsubstantiated opinion is BLM declined because the left went to chase some other new bright object. These “movements” seem to all be one and the same, but just a continual shift in focus. Basically the unbalanced left attempting to keep society off balance. The BLM persona has since been eclipsed by the “separation of children at the border movement” which is now being eclipsed by the “not a Trump choice for SCOTUS movement”. For the left, BLM is so 2015.

    Hence, there will never be positive alternatives offered by any socialist movement.

    • TarsTarkas says

      BLM got both sandbagged by Alinsky tactics and by failing to follow them.

      7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.
      8. “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
      12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

  28. Fred says

    One observation I find missing from this conversation is that BLM’s “decline” as goes hand-in-hand with the election cycle being completed and therefore the progressive race-baiting voter frothing is at its perigee between cycles. The everyone-who-doesnt-equate-Trump-with-Hitler-is-a-racist narrative certainly is still lingering around. I find it fascinating that after two terms of Obama that the systemic racism card is even attempted to be played. That jersey should be hung up at this point, or a plausible explanation of where all the racists and systemic racism was hiding for 8+ years needs to be credibly explained.

  29. This article is an example of what happens when the author doesn’t read Heather Mac Donald. Just looked through it: he doesn’t know the data.

  30. Guy Baehr says

    Good effort to understand what’s going on without an ideological axe to grind. Police brutality against blacks and other minorities is a fact that no one can sincerely deny and a serious problem. Black Lives Matter is a legitimate and needed response and we need to know where it and why it is losing traction so that it can continue its original mission. Thanks to the author for approaching his reporting with this in mind. Sorry there are so many commenters who seem to take satisfaction in BLM’s mistakes and failures. We will all suffer. Decentralized leadership seems to be failing here as it did with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and again, sadly, not because the issue is not important or the original indictment unjustified.

  31. Dave says

    Guy Baehr, your second claim just comes out of the blue. Its not supported by the evidence
    .

  32. LAW says

    Similar to your experience in Toronto, BLM lost me completely when they took over a Bernie Sanders rally in early 2016.

    The general theme seems to be that instead of protesting those who enact policy detrimental to the black community, BLM simply capitalizes on white guilt to take over events led by people ideologically aligned with them. In the Sanders case, it was particularly galling to see black women physically bullying an old man out of the way so they could scream nonsense at the thousands gathered to see him.

    They won the battle and got their 20m of mic time, but lost the war because myself and hundreds of thousands of others started dismissing them on that day. Same deal as the Pride parade in Toronto. If you want people to believe that you’re pushing back against racial injustice, go after those actually inclined toward racism. Those people are not Bernie Sanders supporters, or gay people in Toronto.

    The strategy BLM employs in these cases not only lost public support, but it was cowardly. There is no risk in screaming down a Democrat in a primary – you know he can’t possibly push back or else he will be targeted as a racist. Focus on cases of actual injustice and stop using your platform to makes selfish plays for power.

  33. Michael Bryson says

    I have read a few good articles on Quillette, and this is one of them.

    Unfortunately, some readers here seem to easily confuse the analysis with the author’s opinion.

  34. BFF says

    This piece does a good job of encapsulating the fear that the US Left and progressive media have of critiquing anything related to Black Lives Matter.

    Black Lives Matter is a legitimate response to the disproportionate rate of police-involved killings of unarmed black people in the United States. Police departments across the country do need more accountability for these incidents, and BLM did bring attention to that. And over-policing as well as criminalization of impoverished/disadvantaged populations is a major issue in cities across the United States.

    However, that does not mean that an entire profession (policing) or an entire group of people (white people) should be demonized because of the actions of a few. And it also does not mean that black people are the only group impacted by police-involved killings.

    Professor of African-American politics, labor organizer, and prominent black Leftist Dr. Adolph Reed, Jr. argues that “racism” and “white supremacy” are not the best tools of analysis for explaining the abuses of black people in the United States at the hands of police. Here is a link to his piece on the issue.

    https://nonsite.org/editorial/how-racial-disparity-does-not-help-make-sense-of-patterns-of-police-violence

    It does appear that some segments of BLM are taking an approach that looks more and more similar to that of the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan – those comments from Yusra Khogali about “genetic inferiority” seem cut from the same cloth as the Yacub mythology in the Nation of Islam.

    This sort of divisive rhetoric impedes rather than promotes the establishment of a truly progressive Leftist agenda in the United States – one that would benefit black people in the United States and all other groups in the United States.

    I’m glad that this piece was published because we need to have an honest conversation about the limitations of BLM. This conversation is not happening in most corners of the US Left.

  35. Anthony Tate says

    @BFF

    “Black Lives Matter is a legitimate response to the disproportionate rate of police-involved killings of unarmed black people in the United States”

    This has been proven, even in this very conversation up thread, to be untrue.

    And you fall into the same trap as the author does in completely ignoring the fact the black people commit a disproportionate amount of crime relative to their population size.

    There is no conversation to be had when you completely ignore facts such as these.

    It’s merely another, in a long line, of lectures on race. Never a conversation, just shit down shut up and listen to me lecture…no matter how vacous and misleading the lecture is.

    • BFF says

      Black people ARE disproportionately represented in police-involved killings. The data back that up and the following Adolph Reed piece bears that out:

      https://nonsite.org/editorial/how-racial-disparity-does-not-help-make-sense-of-patterns-of-police-violence

      And just so you know, Reed states that “white supremacy” and “racism” are not the best tools of analysis for making sense of these statistics around police violence. He agrees that there are limitations to Black Lives Matter without dismissing legitimate concerns about police violence.

      I didn’t say that these phenomena were always related to “racism” or “white supremacy.” I simply said that black people are disproportionately represented in the data around police killings. That doesn’t mean that other groups are not killed by police. Adolph Reed even writes that nearly half of the victims of police-involved deaths are white.

      And so what if black people commit a disproportionate amount of crime? What type of crime are we talking about? Does committing a crime somehow mean someone deserves to be killed?

      Just because there are legitimate concerns and limitations around Black Lives Matter, that does not mean we should just summarily dismiss the concerns the organization brings up.

      • max blancke says

        In speaking to a number of BLM followers, it appeared that they were under the impression that hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed Blacks were killed by police in North America annually, and that larger numbers of Blacks than Whites are shot by police. BLM has been pretty successful in conveying that impression, although it is false.
        Any group that commits large numbers of violent crime is necessarily going to have more negative interactions with the police. Of course that does not mean that they “deserve to be killed”. But gang warfare and armed robbery are dangerous occupations.

    • Il. Meyer says

      @Anthony Tate

      You haven’t done your research and you should be embarrassed. Check out Mapping Police Violence or a recent study in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2018) titled ‘Years of life lost due to encounters with law enforcement in the USA, 2015-2016″. And these are only two examples. So maybe you should actually check the literature before commenting on stuff like this.

  36. I simply said that black people are disproportionately represented in the data around police killings.

Comments are closed.